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Two Debut Novels Among National Book Award Contenders

Read more from G&A: The Contest Blog

A blog from: Poets & Writers Magazine

Posted by Prize Reporter on 10.12.11

The National Book Foundation (NBF) announced the National Book Award finalists today from Portland on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The finalists in poetry are:
Nikky Finney for Head Off & Split (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press)
Yusef Komunyakaa for The Chameleon Couch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Carl Phillips for Double Shadow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Adrienne Rich for Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 20072010 (Norton)
Bruce Smith for Devotions (University of Chicago Press)

The finalists in fiction are:
Andrew Krivak for his debut novel, The Sojourn (Bellevue Literary Press)
Téa Obreht, who was honored by the NBF last year as a 5 Under 35 author, for her debut novel, The Tiger's Wife (Random House)
Julie Otsuka for her novel The Buddha in the Attic (Knopf)
Edith Pearlman for her story collection Binocular Vision (Lookout Books)
Jesmyn Ward for her novel Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury)

This year saw the first graphic book finalist, in the nonfiction category: Lauren Redniss's Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout (It Books). The nonfiction shortlist also includes biographies of Malcolm X and Karl and Jenny Marx, as well as Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve (Norton), a look at Lucretius's philosophical poem, "On the Nature of Things."

The National Book Award winners will be announced on November 16 in New York City.

In the video below, Finney reads and discusses the story behind a poem from Head Off & Split.

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